Disclaimer: not mine. Rating: PG13/R. Set: After 'Into the Fire'. References both that and In The Line of Duty.
Sequel: (surprisingly) to "In This Moment.
Notes: This one is completely Jara's fault (I've been saying that a lot, lately) as we were talking about Into the Fire and the clinging hug. Damn. Need to figure out breakfast. Title finally yanked/inspired by Duran Duran's 'Ordinary World'

Momentary Pride by ALC

"You came back for me."

His voice is muffled by the pillow. He hasn't removed his head from it since she woke up what feels like hours ago and dragged herself into a sitting position. In that time she doesn't think he's slept, either. Sleeping allows you to dream. And in dreams, you remember.

Pain and the loss of control. Someone else inhabiting your body, smiling with your lips.

She doesn't have any idea how much of this he can remember. She's fairly certain she doesn't want to.

"I came back," she finally says into the darkness, "to blow up the generator. You were just a happy coincidence."

"That would look great on my gravestone, Carter."

He still hasn't moved.

Shifting slightly, she watches the moonlight again as it creeps across the floor. She wasn't supposed to go back for him. And she's not supposed to be here, in his bed. But she also knows what he has gone though (or assumes, but she doesn't want it confirmed), and thinks that there should be some restitution for having left him behind the first time.

Perhaps she is simply putting too much on herself, but she has always been dedicated and driven. Pulled along by goals and the wonder of science.

Right now she is caught by the wonder that is Jack O'Neill alive and breathing and himself.

A shift, and he finally raises his head and moves until his arm is around her waist and his head is on her thigh. Her hand threads into his hair.

"You're not going to get a gravestone anytime soon." Calling him 'sir' would be something approaching sacrilege when she is sitting naked in his bed. And she can't allow herself to call him Jack. At some point, he will step back (again, but she doesn't want to think about that), or she will. And they will pretend that this has never happened.

She understands the need for human contact, because she feels it, too. For a short time, they are both pretending there is no world outside of this bedroom.

At least, she assumes (again). She doesn't like assuming, but he never talks about anything real. Inconsequential bullshit is all that this space in time is worth.

She tries to tell herself she doesn't mind. And so she doesn't think about why they're here.

Which is a lie that she lets out on the surface, because this is all she is thinking about. Why they're here, what almost happened -- how he almost lost his sense of self to a parasite. While she simply stood by and let it happen.

It doesn't make it easier to know that she needs this more than he does.

Just sadder.

The first time (and here she is, breaking her own plan, but there isn't anything to say and nothing to do but stroke his hair), she came to him. Stood on his doorstep and talked to him normally and then trapped him in the kitchen, lips and hands -- he wasn't surprised.

It has always bothered her that he wasn't surprised.

He took her to his bedroom and with a silence that still grips her in this sort of moment stripped her of clothing and soul and memory until she was writhing as he slid in and out of her. Intent, concentrated -- he was like that this time, too.

Last time she came here with no plan, and left him in the still hours of the morning.

This time she planned. Stealth and careful movement that let her in through his back door.

He was waiting for her.

She hates that she was this predictable.

That they are both this needy and that this has happened again. She isn't supposed to be here, clinging to her commanding officer and wishing that the sun would never rise because then they have to go back to being different people.

Last time was Jolinar.

The arm around her waist tightens, and her hand in his hair stills. "I should go." Her breath doesn't want to expel as she says it.

"Stay."

If she were the kind of woman who cries at the drop of a hat, she would be in hysterics by now. Only one tear slides down her cheek as she carefully disengages. "I can't."

And he knows it.

He rolls onto his back while she climbs out and dresses. She can't look at him again and so she simply methodically pulls on piece after piece of clothing. If she looks, she will stay, and she can't stay. Staying changes too much.

There are too many reasons against it.

She has her boots on when the arms catch her and hold on. "No." His voice is muffled from where it's buried in her neck. "You're not leaving like this."

This time.

The words are there, but he doesn't say them.

He doesn't say, you're not leaving me.

Against her will (not, because if it were against, she would be half out the door and leaving him behind) he turns her.

"I can't stay." She knows she's repeating herself. There isn't anything else to say. Telling him she didn't want to stay would be a lie. And they are past lies, by now. Or if they're not then they're both fooling themselves.

"Just until daylight." He moves backwards, pulling her with him.

She feels her resolve (which wasn't full) fade until she is participating in the move. "That's in--"

"No science."

He tugs and they fall onto the bed, awkward. She fully clothed and he naked. It's strange, she thinks as he rolls them back into the cocoon of blankets and she shifts one leg over him. But she really doesn't understand this man anymore than she does herself.

-f-

Passion or coincidence once prompted you to say Pride will tear us both apart And now pride's gone out the window Cross the rooftops, runaway

(damn, and now the line about "next to all these wars, ours is just a little sorrow" played. beats Duran Duran)